On the heels of news that DNA testing as shown the skeleton known as "Kennewick Man" to be a Native American, the Yakama Tribe issued a statement Thursday demanding his return to the tribe, for the purpose of re-burial.

Recent testing of the skeleton found nearly 20 years ago along the Columbia River have shown the nearly 8,500-year-old skeleton of a man does not show any European genomes, and is therefore a Native American.

Initially, after quickly determining the skeleton found in July 1996 was not a recent murder victim, Native American tribes immediately petitioned to have him returned to them and reburied as per their customs.  A group of scientists sued, seeking to have the remains studies for scientific purposes.

The DNA results released Thursday brought about a statement from the Yakama Indian Tribe, which read (in part) as follows:

The Yakama Nation demands the immediate return of the Ancient One—who is commonly known in the non-Indian world as “Kennewick Man”—so proper repatriation and reburial may be urgently carried out on his behalf.

As Indigenous Peoples our relationship to these lands goes back since time immemorial with all that encompasses such lands. Our relationship with our surroundings is governed first and foremost by natural law. We come from the land, and after our time on these lands, we return to the land; just as the Ancient One did.
Historically and currently our relationship with the land has been impeded by unnatural elements and proponents of scientific study. So to has the Ancient One’s relationship with the land been impeded.
The Yakama Nation is sharing with you that the continued advocacy of such studies involving the remains of the Ancient One will only lead to confusion and dishonor to everyone involved.
After nearly 20 years has passed since the unearthing of our relative, it is now society’s own science that is telling all individuals what was expressed since the beginning from the Yakama People...
 Scientists and others hope to be able to continue to study the remarkable remains, and they say such studies will not only benefit the historical aspect of mankind, but also help shed light on the history and culture of ancient Native Americans.

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